Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's Greece - Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

It’s Greece. It’s been confirmed. But where
     the hell is Greece? Patu wants to know.
          He’s ignorant, never got past Standard 6 — 
his dad couldn’t spare him — had to get up
     at 6, milk the cows, and after milking
          do all the other chores. ‘Greece,’ I tell him,
‘is close to Gallipoli,’ and his eyes light up.
     He knows the name, because his Uncle Ru
          died there, fighting the Turks. We agree
that anywhere is better than being here
     at Amiriya, buggered by route marches,
          plagued by flies, heat and sand — sand blowing
everywhere. But the pyramids, my God!
     A million slaves died building them, they say.
          They are indeed great marvels, but give me
Hikurangi any day. ‘We go to Greece,’
     says Freyberg, ‘to defend the birth place
          of culture and learning,’ and it gets me
wondering why I’m here at all so far
     from my run-down farm, my sick people,
          and a meeting-house in need of repair.

Sharpe, I. (Ed.). (2001, January 1). Best New Zealand Poems 2001. Retrieved from

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